About Us

The Public Welfare Foundation supports efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need. These efforts honor the Foundation’s core values of racial equity, economic well-being and fundamental fairness for all.

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Advancing Justice & Opportunity


Public Welfare Foundation seeks to catalyze a transformative approach to justice in the United States that is community-led, restorative, and racially just by supporting the creation and implementation of an alternative vision of justice that is rooted in communities.

Our Grants

In its 70-year history, the Foundation has distributed more than $570 million in grants to more than 4,800 organizations. With current assets of more than $480 million, Public Welfare Foundation looks for strategic points where its funds can make a significant difference to advance an alternative vision of justice through criminal justice and youth justice reforms that result in transformative change.

To bolster grantees’ staying power, the Foundation often gives multi-year and general support grants. In its program areas, the Foundation clusters grants under targeted strategies to achieve longer term goals that can be sustained over time.

Timeline

1947

PWF Incorporates

Public Welfare Foundation incorporates in the State of Texas.

1948

PWF Makes 1st Grant

Grant is for 28 sewing machines for an organization of Jamaican women so that children could be clothed and sent to school.

1949

PWF Gains Tax Exempt Status

Charles Marsh’s protégé, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, conveys the news that the foundation is officially tax exempt.

1951

PWF is Reincorporated

Public Welfare Foundation reincorporates as a nonprofit in the state of Delaware.

 

1964

Charles Marsh Dies

PWF Founder Charles Marsh Dies.

1982

Grantee Spotlight: PWF Supports Those With Incarcerated Loved Ones

Matthew 25:36 House helps families and friends of prisoners at Washington State Prison in a variety of ways in Monroe, Washington.

1983

Grantee Spotlight: PWF Invests in DC

The Family Place assists young, low-income, inner city parents and their children in Washington, DC.

1988

Grantee Spotlight: PWF Supports Alternatives to Incarceration

Associated Marine Institutes provides an alternative to incarceration for youth, including marine and earth sciences, seamanship, aquatics, physical education, ad academic, and vocational education programming.

1989

Grantee Spotlight: PWF Supports Investing in Reentry Services

The Linking Offenders and Neighborhoods of the Rehab Project in Ohio, a grantee of PWF, trains incarcerated women in construction skills, while providing housing renovation in the community.

1999

PWF Purchases the True Reformer Building

PWF hires architecture firm of Sorg & Associates designed a renovation to preserve the character of the building while adapting the building for use as the Foundation’s headquarters.

2018

PWF Launches Race, Redemption and Restoration Initiative

PWF launches a focus on Race, Redemption, and Restoration under the Special Opportunities program.

2019

PWF Announces New Strategic Framework

Public Welfare Foundation announces a deepened focus on Criminal and Youth Justice reforms.

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The Historic True Reformer Building


The True Reformer Building was the first in the nation to be designed, financed, built, and owned by the African-American community after Reconstruction.Over the years, the building has housed numerous civic and cultural institutions. The legendary jazz musician Duke Ellington gave performances here.

The True Reformer Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. The Public Welfare Foundation purchased it in 1999.

Today it operates as Public Welfare Foundation’s headquarters and a community hub to advance social good.